How to be a Drag Queen

Words of wisdom from drag artists

 

Ok, so I’m making to push towards performing as a drag artist. I started thinking about it back in 2010 but it was one of those things I regrettable never did at the time. Now I’m looking at ways to go about it. I’ve had a make- up lesson from Jenny Wave, (see photoshoot post) and started burlesque courses at Mizz Twisted Cherry Studios with a Great Gatsby theme routine. And of course I’ve watched countless you tube videos and read up on everything I can find to give me advice and tips. I’ve even started my own Facebook page under the name Cherry Ade in order to start pushing myself out there.
But I figured the best place to get some advice is from some of the drag artists I know and so I asked some of them, what is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone trying to become a drag artist?”
The first person I turned to was my close friend Miss Felicia, a drag queen for over ten years, bringing her own version of drag race to Gloucester, discovering Misty Monique and thus being the originator of what would eventually become Drag Wars. She now lives and performs regularly at the Golden Cross, Cardiff and has her own Christmas shoe coming up. What did she have to say?

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“Don’t be me.” Maybe meant as more of a joke but still solid advice. One of the things that I’ve found with drag is that the performances and the styles vary greatly. Miss Felicia, Luna Lakes and Isabell End are all very different. I’d love to be able to sing as well as Felicia or dance and look as gorgeous as Luna. And as much as I love Doctor Who Isabell has already scared a number of Daleks in her performance. So simply copying my friend isn’t a great move. What I need to do is to find the persona that suits me that I feel comfortable with. What kind of person is Cherry?
I turned next to Misty Monique. The host of Oh My Drag and Drag Wars at the Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham. She is someone who had helped other drag artists get a chance and recently won a ‘We Are One’ Awards Young Adult Upstander Award, (which I’m really pleased about as I was one of the people who nominated her. Misty also puts on another show. Flock aimed and new artists to get a chance to perform, something to keep my eye on in the future.

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Misty gave me this advice: “my advice would be to research, go online, go on youtube etc. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning the basics of drag. Get to know your local scene and ask those involved for tips etc, but don’t be reliant on having a ‘drag mother’ to teach you everything – you learn so much more without one. Don’t use drag race as your only resource – you will find out so much more by going to local shows”
Along with the Oh My Drag shows in Cheltenham I’ve also visited The Golden Cross in Cardiff. Along with guest artists at both these events and Drag Wars this has allowed me to see a great variety or acts. Most of the artists I have spoken to at these events have been friendly and helpful. I’ve helped Miss Felicia behind stage at the final of Drag Wars this year and will be working backstage at Miss Felicia’s show at Christmas all of which has given me a chance to learn a lot. Even after a year or so of working towards this goal I’m still find stuff on the net.

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Luna Lakes: my advice would be to make sure you do drag for yourself first, always! As a movement, drag is all about non-conforming and embracing the weird, wacky and wonderful parts of self-exploration and it’s crucial you remember that. More often than not, you will find there are people both within and outside of the community that will try to police or censor you on how you should express yourself, but just remember that drag is yours to enjoy, and finding what drag means to you is the key part of the experience. All art is subjective and unique, and drag is art, so don’t dull your shine by sticking to any ideals and traditions thrown your way when presenting yourself as a drag artist. The biggest gratification you get from drag is a pat on the back from yourself! Once you have that, you’ll be ready to conquer the world! ”
I’ve been questioning why I want to do drag. I just really want to do it, I’m not thinking about it as a way to earn extra money and I’m not after fame. To me it feels like a way to express myself, to feel a part of something. It certainly isn’t because it’s easy. I’ve learnt there is a lot of hard work involved. I did my first performance in drag at the end of my first burlesque course this week and despite the practise I put in I forgot the routine half way through and struggled, luckily it was only in front of the rest of the class but it would have been nice to watch the video with pride and not notice all the mistakes. I still take pride in the fact that I got up there and did it though and at times when I did mess up the moves I was able to improvise. And while my performance was lacking I did have plenty of good responses to my drag. I overcame my anxiety at doing it and I think I can pat myself on the back for that.

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This also feeds into the advice I got from Isabell End. “I think my main advice would be to enjoy yourself, however the performance is going. The audience love it when you’re having fun and engaging them ”
Despite my mistakes and my panic over doing the routine I loved it. I felt relieved when it was over but I enjoyed doing it. It felt like an achievement and I got a good response from the class.
So to reiterate. Try not to copy another artist and to find myself. Find out how to express myself and don’t let anyone else chance that. But at the same time take time to research and get advice and tips from others. Above all enjoy myself when performance regardless of how it’s going and just try to entertain the audience.

I’m ready for the next time which is in eight weeks’ time with a Rocky Horror Show theme. Yes I was pleased with my makeup this time but there is still a lot to learn and to practice and this time I will put even more practice time in on the routine. The goal is to perform at the Mizz Twisted Cherry Showcase next year. I have song in mind and the first ideas of a routine. Hopefully by next year Cherry Ade will be performing.

 

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As these Queens helpped me out with their advice for this post:

Miss Felicia’s show, Applause: A Christmas Special is on Friday 20th December at Rhiwbina Memorial Hall, Cardiff. Tickets available from;

http://www.ticketlab.co.uk/events/applause?fbclid=IwAR24qm-M_w9o357EcoQyTxpcP60r17Dr1V-UtsgTUM9wtn-3rCT2xpJp8tk

Misty Monique will be at Flock Vol 2 at The Sober Parrot, Cheltenham and Oh My Drag: Nightmare on Elf Street is at the Frog and Fiddle on 7th Dec. Ticket available here;

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/487256?fbclid=IwAR0GTUrxlzv_eZ2uMQEOtT99Flxjsbg6pn-F67E5_Fwbxva3bckmIHd0Pbk

You can also catch Luna Lakes and Isabell End at Oh My Drag. If you want more Luna, she is also performing along side Lilly Love at the Little Vic, Stroud for the next three Tuesdays (7th, 14th & 21st with their Drag Race UK Viewing Extravaganza.

 

The similarities between Doctors

“He will become a new man”

 

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Regeneration. One of the greatest concepts a show has ever come up with allowing us to follow the adventures of the Doctor for nearly sixty years. Thirteen incarnations (fourteen with the War Doctor) all completely different from one another. The first Doctor was like a Edwardian gentleman who could be quite crotchety sometimes, the second a cosmic hobo, underestimated by the enemy who sometimes showed a darker side.
Or are they? Certainly when the first Doctor first regenerated it was into a young, shorter version. At first it was likened to a renewal, as if the years had been stripped back. But it was clear very soon that this was not just a younger version of the Doctor. It was a different persona. Then it happened again. So the crotchety old man, the cosmic hobo, the Dandy, the bohemian madman, the youthful wonderer, the older crotchety Doctor, the cosmic hobo, underestimated with a darker side.

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Already with the classic series we start to see repeats, throwbacks if you like to other previous versions. Some of them are intentional. Both Davison and Baker said they looked towards the first Doctor for inspiration for their Doctors. And the seventh Doctor although starting out very Troughton like developed into a darker version.
I actually began to think about this back in the nineties when I first became a fan. It seemed that after the fifth Doctor the incarnations started to echo earlier incarnations. The sixth was like the first, the seventh like the second.
There was even a theory at the time that the fifth Doctor was actually the thirteenth, based off the events of The Brain of Morbius and completely overlooking Mawdryn Undead. Had some sort of regeneration reset happened? Future Doctors would channel previous incarnations in order. No it’s a stupid theory.
Yet when the TV movie came along in 96 it’s interesting to see the similarities between the eighth and the third. While the young Doctor’s style emulates the firsts to a degree there is a lot in common with the third Doctor and his era starting with the logo itself.
Regenerating from a small mysterious man into a taller striking body, the Doctor ends up in hospital. Awakening he explores the hospital, stealing some clothes from a hospital employee. He manages to leave the hospital by stealing/ stowing away in, a car.
He luckily has assistance from another doctor. It’s not long before another of his race, the Master threatens the Earth. The Doctor and his companion races around on a motorcycle to try and save the day.
Ok they are very superficial similarities but it’s interesting to look at.

When the series returned it seemed that the spell was broken. The ninth Doctor was hardly anything like the fourth. But if the TV movie was a failed pilot and this was a second attempt, learning from the mistakes then what.
So from here in I’m going to look at the similarities between Doctors nine to thirteen compared to Doctors three to seven. Not merely in terms of character but also their era. Sorry it’s taken five hundred words to get here.
The ninth and the third are very different Doctors. A striking dandy working for the military, and a loner alien dressed in a leather jacket. But within the series itself we can find things very reminiscent of the third Doctor era.
For the most part the Doctor’s adventures take place on Earth. Out of ten adventures four take place on modern Earth (if we include Dalek which is set only a few years into the future at the time) and the final although set in the future has scenes set on modern Earth.
Another three are set in the past. And three in the future, End of the World, The Long Game and Bad Wolf/ Parting of the Ways and all three of these take place on a station orbiting the Earth. In short within the TV series itself the ninth Doctor doesn’t visit an alien planet, he is effectively for the most part Earthbound.

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In his first adventure he encounters the Autons including an iconic scene of shop dummies bursting through shop windows and gunning people down in the street. His companion for most of his adventures is a young blonde haired girl. But there is also a feeling of a family here as there are regular characters that crop up when the Doctor is on Earth during the modern day adventures. The Doctor himself is considered by the government as an expert in alien encounters.

The tenth Doctor may seem at first to have more in common with the fifth Doctor then the Fourth, especially considering the conversation in Time Crash. However….
The first adventure of this new Doctor takes place on modern Earth. He starts of acting very erratic. Luckily there is someone on hand with a stethoscope to check on his hearts. By the end he’s recovered, more settled down and with his companion(s) takes off for new adventure in time and space. His adventures during this time include Sarah Jane Smith and K9. Gabriel Woolf provides the voice for one of his more powerful foes. Davros appears for the first time in the classic/new series with this Doctor.

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Donna in her final adventure gains the Doctor’s brain putting her on the same level as him, almost like a time lady companion of the fourth. There is a sober feel to the final few adventures of this incarnation as he feels his end is coming soon along with a premonition of sorts. (The Watcher/ Four knocks)
His adventures brings an end of an era. Over the course of his time the series has become the most popular it has ever been with the highest ratings, and this incarnation of the Doctor has been the most popular cementing themselves in the minds of many as the iconic version of the Doctor. There is doubt by some that the series might not survive the change, especially in light of the news that….

…….The new Doctor is the youngest actor to date to take on the role. Many wonder if they will be able to bring through the age of the character. The fears are misplaced. The actor is able to play the Doctor as an old man in a young body. During his era he travels with a number of companions at the same time although this returns to the one Doctor, one companion by the end. There is an anniversary story during this time with the Doctor meeting up with previous incarnations in an adventure that involves Gallifrey. In fact it is Gallifreyan technology that allows this to happen. We also have the death of companions during this time.

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If anywhere it is the similarities between the sixth and twelve Doctor that are the most striking. Both are showed at first to be uncaring Doctor’s. Note the sixth Doctor’s talk of how alien he is. “I am, in your terms, an alien. I’m therefore bound to have….
In Into the Dalek we have the Doctor talk about Clara. “Yes she’s my career, she cares so I don’t have to.” Over time however he mellows a bit. He has one companion for the majority of his adventures and is extremely upset by her apparent death during an adventure. However it turns out later that she didn’t really die. It does seem during this era of the show that it starts to decline and despite liking the Doctor many feel that a lot of the stories are not doing him justice. There is a feeling that maybe the producer/showrunner has stayed in the job too long and it needs to be refreshed. There is at least a story that teams up the current Doctor with a previous one in a non-anniversary way as they simply cross paths. For the first time in the series run there is a gap year before this Doctor returns for one last series.

 
Of course as mentioned above there is also a similarity between the sixth and the first Doctor and it’s interesting that the last adventure of the twelfth Doctor also involves the first.
Ok, I really have nothing with the thirteenth Doctor. In fact I’ve made many comments on various social media about how much this series and Doctor reminds me of the fifth Doctor and his era as well as noting points with the first Doctor era. But it is early days with Jodie only having one series under her belt. The first series is followed by a story involving Daleks and she travels with three companions, two males, one female.
However the show itself seems to be suffering. Its run has cut down on the number of episodes it produces a year. Many believe it has had its time and needs a rest and that Jodie could be the last Doctor before the show goes off the air again for a rest.
So the thirteenth Doctor seems to have broken the chain of following previous Doctors, or at least the order of previous Doctors. However the show itself still seems to be following the pattern. But a note of hope to finish. The next two series of the seventh Doctor started to show a return to form with the second series landing on an anniversary year. (The 25th of classic/ the 15th on New) In those days it was too late and the series couldn’t recover. Hopefully the next couple of series will help the series recover some of its former glory. It does feel different this time.

 

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Speaking of endings, this blog was written in the café where many of them have been over the last three years. It is also the last. After three years the café is closing down (27/9/19)
It’s rather sad. It is the place where I wrote my novel, (and started my second) spending many Saturdays typing away armed only with a pot of Assam tea. It was a chance to get away from the distractions of home and concentrate on my writing. During that time I’ve wrote posts from discussing issues from transgender to role models. I’ve spoken about changes in my life as I’ve explored myself and as I head towards new areas of my life it will be sad that this part is over.
So a thanks to Le Petit Hibou, its owners Barry & Jill and all its staff for allowing me to sit here for hours upon end even when closing.

Love Lives Here

Love Lives Here
By Amanda Jette Knox

Kind of a review

 

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I don’t do many reviews on here. In the early days I did one on my favourite movie and to a degree the new Ghostbusters movie. However my site went in a different direction. However after reading Love lives here I felt compelled to write about it. Not only because of how much I enjoyed it but also because of how I related to it. As such this is not just a review but a post on what this book means to me and how it has affected my own life.
The main thing about the book is that it is a page turner. I love reading. I started at an early age and use to spend hours reading novels. I loved studying. However in later years, with distractions such as multi-channel TV and laptops I have slowed down on the reading front.
However when I got this book I couldn’t wait to read on and on. It gripped me from one chapter to the next. Having followed Amanda on Twitter for quite some time as well as reading her own blog, I was well aware of the story that was unfolding on the pages before me. That didn’t make it any less interesting. For those not in the know, the book tells the story of Amanda’s family, dealing first with her daughter coming out as transgender and then her wife and the effects it has had on them.
For those in the know then reading this in the book will be no surprise but there are a lot of intimate details. We get the story how both Amanda and her wife Zoe grew up before meeting and getting married. We get to know Amanda’s inner most thoughts, not only with the drama unfolding in her family but also with her own demons. There is a simple honesty with the story being told here and it shines out through the entire book.

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As I mentioned there is some things in this book I really related to. Not only with Zoe’s experiences but also with Amanda’s. How she was always someone who tried to please everyone in a way to be liked by them is exactly the same as me. With my low self-esteem it is something I realised late in life and I’m still struggle to control. Knowing that I’m not the only one like this and that the behaviour can be changed was good. Likewise her tenacity to keep on writing her blog, to use media platforms to help the LGTB community and her basic rule to simply live life through love has reenergised me to carry on with my own little contributions. The way that she deals with negatives things that crosses her path with love and understanding without compromising or taking any nonsense is amazing and a lesson to be learned. In short Amanda Knox’s has become another role model for me. Oh and look, once again it’s a woman and a real person (see Role Models encore). I find myself wondering did she find writing this book therapeutic in any way, as I did when writing A Girl’s Night Out. A book I’m even more determined to get published.

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Amanda’s wife, Zoe also resonated with me. She was around my age when she transitioned and looking at the photos of her and seeing how beautiful she looks has helped with some of my fears of whether it’s too late for me. Also the love and support she received from friends, family and co-workers was amazing. Having posted some of my own revelations and photos on Facebook recently and having positive feedback has encouraged me even more so to explore and come out as myself more publicly. There is another outcome to her coming out that I have started noticing with myself. That afterwards her personality changed, more positive and relaxed with who she is. Since owning my bi-sexuality and my more feminine side I have found myself caring less about what people think of me. Finding myself freer in expressing myself but also an inner happiness inside me. I can actually feel it. A swelling up in my chest. A happiness and satisfaction with my life that I haven’t got close to since university five years ago. A feeling I thought may never come again.
But back to the book itself. Amanda writes with a nice pace blending emotions and humour throughout the book with ease. In particular pages 107, 225 and the final page triggered my emotions. And if you want to know what those instances were I suggest you go and buy the book. The last sixty pages flew by in one reading. It was getting late but I just had to carry on. And then I stopped on the final chapter and put the book down. I didn’t want it to finish. I was loving the unfolding story and if I read that last chapter it was finished. I wanted to hold out that anticipation a little longer. To prolong the story just a bit more. Hopefully there will be more from Amanda sometime in the future. As for Love Lives Here, all I can say is that it left me filled with hope and love. It rightly deserves its place as a best seller and I’d recommend this to anyone to read. Hopefully it may even change a few closed minds out there.

I’m finally out!

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Ok, not fully but a little while ago I announced of Facebook that I was Bisexual. For many it probably didn’t come as much of a surprise. In recent years I’ve been quite open about who I was although to what extent was only shared with a few trusted people. So it may have been possible that some were unsure, or thought I was joking.
I didn’t really need to put it on Facebook, indeed I debated with myself for a while as to put weather I was Bisexual or pansexual. I could count myself as either, but for the most part I felt Bisexual was easier just because of the level of understanding I know some of my friend are at. I didn’t want questions on it. I didn’t want to get caught up in discussions of what pan sexual is and the difference between the two and how does it involve pans?

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No the reason I put it on Facebook apart from finally clearing up any confusions anyone may have had about me was twofold. Firstly because I was fed up of watching what I posted on there. Not so much personal stuff but images, jokes etc. If I wanted to comment on a photo of Lucifer about how hot he is I would stop myself. Not because I wanted to protect myself from being questioned on my sexuality but because I was worried about how people would take it. Whether they would be left wondering. True it wouldn’t really be any of their business and I shouldn’t worry about what people think but there was just something that didn’t feel right to me. And this was the second reason I posted it.
For myself. Not just so I could make comments and post anything I wanted but just to feel like myself. It was my way of saying to my world that “hey this is me, like it or lump it.” I was owning my sexuality. It wasn’t being guessed at or assumed. It was me saying this is what it is.
And it felt good. It felt freeing. There was an element of fear there before I posted. I thought about it for a couple of weeks. But it felt so good to do it. I’d been doing it on twitter for the last couple of years but no one on there were actual physical friends. People I knew in my life.
And then the notifications and comments started to come in. Likes, loves, comments of well done, so proud and be yourself. Each one helping to validate me, made me feel better. Some even commenting “about time”. It’s amazing how many people seemed to know about me before I really did.

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There was also another point to me coming out as bisexual. A little thing I put at the bottom of the post, 1/2. No one commented on it. They’ve didn’t ask what it meant. And for those who might know, still nothing. One of two. The first post out of two. There is another post to come sometime in the future, some other revelation.
Because it was also a test run. To see how people reacted. My friend Ashley wanted me to fully come out on Facebook along with the photos I’ve had done. Personally I wasn’t ready for that. It would be like ripping a band aid straight off. This way I’m was slowly teasing it off. Plus I’m still wasn’t sure where I stood with being genderfliud.
I’m also aware that there is a difference between announcing your sexuality and announcing your gender. It’s a big step to take and I’m trying to make it a little bit smaller before announcing anything else about me to the world.
But sometimes fate takes a hand in things. Maybe it was because I was at Pride that weekend or maybe deep down I was just looking for a way to come out further, I don’t know. However when a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how his daughter was trying to raise money for charity and not getting far, could his friends help I did. I donated a bit of money. But there were very few others that did the same. My friend of course was disappointed. He is someone who in the past has gone out of his way to help others.
I did the only thing I could think of to help him and in a way help me. I messaged him.
“If you don’t get many donations by Friday let me know. I may have a way to help.”
Friday came and the total hadn’t moved much. I checked in with my friend. Still disappointed.
Deep breath I posted on Facebook about my friend’s daughter raising money. I posted the link to donate. Then I made a promise.
“If any of my friends donate and we can get near the total needed by Monday then I will post, for the first time on Facebook, a photo of me in drag.”
It sort of worked. A couple of people donated, one commenting just to see me in drag. Maybe they was expecting some half assed photo with just me in a dress. Monday came. The total hadn’t been reached, I could have backed out, but I didn’t. This was an opportunity and I’ve learnt now to take those when they come up. And so the photo was posted.

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And the response, like the bi sexual post was again overwhelmingly positive. A lot of compliments. And a big thanks from my friend to whom it meant so much. Within a couple more days the total was smashed and I felt great. I’d helped a friend and had presented myself, or to a degree Cherry Ade to my world.
I now have a Facebook page going for that persona and have had a few friend requests. The futures bright, the futures rainbow.

X-Men & The Trans Community

 

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From the comics I read as a kid, to the nineties Fox cartoon and then the X-Men film franchise that has been running for the last twenty years they have been there. At college we use to go to the local chip shop during dinner and play on the arcade game there. I was always Nightcrawler, my favourite at the time. (Well there was also Wolverine but my mate was always him)
Wolverine can of course be considered one of the most popular of the X-men. Hugh Jackman has played him superbly in the franchise with three solo movies and a number of cameos. But for me it’s a team thing. The comics, the series, even the X-Men games I still have for the Playstation it’s a group. Cyclopes, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Beast. Just a few of my favourites.

Now since starting this blog I’ve written a few posts on heroes. From the role models I’ve had over the years such as He-man and Spiderman to looking at Batman, Supergirl and the themes of identity. The X-men then also provide a personal meaning to me. They are a minority group. Created in the sixties it seems obvious that Stan Lee took themes from the racist attitudes that existed. They became metaphoric for people who were treated different because they were different. A theme still relevant in the eighties and nineties with homosexuality and the AIDS crisis. A theme still relevant now because of the issues with Trans people.

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Let’s take a look at the X-men or more precisely the mutant community. Outcasts, feared for being different and not fitting into what people consider the norm. Many of these mutants don’t have the great powers of the X-men or their enemies. Their mutation may be just something small. A little bit different in their identity and all they want to do is try and live a normal life, try to fit in with society.
This is what most Trans people want. When people shout about Trans women using women’s toilet the argument always have someone say ‘Why not have separate toilets for trans women.’ Well apart from the impracticalities, such as establishments having to fit an extra toilet area, the fact remains it marks someone out as different.

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A Trans woman is a woman, a mantra often repeated by many but with good reason. They don’t want to be seen as something different. They are just trying to get on with their lives as the person they are. They just want to go for a pee. There shouldn’t be any reason why they should have to enter through a door marked just for them, a door that advertises to those around that this person is different. A talking point. Someone to stop and stare at. A person who is now open to attack and ridicule. The toilet might as well just have a big flashing sign across the top. What this separate toilet does is force that person to identify themselves just because they need to pee.

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Ok, mini rant over but we’ll be coming back to identity later. On Twitter it is almost like there is a war going on. Trans people and their allies one side. Cis people and allies on the other. Arguing over rights, safety, respect or even the meaning of words. It’s the same as the world of the X-men. A minority group fighting for their rights, sometime to even exist, in the world and the other side against them. Or even just confused by it. In X-men 2 there is a scene where Iceman’s mother uses the line “Have you tried not being a mutant?” It’s a line that has been used against both homosexuals and Trans people. A mistaken belief that it is a choice. Something that can be turned off.
And like the world of the X-men there are different factions. Many are those just trying to live. Others are more outspoken, activists who like the X-men put themselves out there to fight and be visible. Munroe Berkoff, Paris Lee, Dr Rachel McKinnon. Sadly there are others as well who are more like Magneto’s team, willing to use violence (speech) to achieve their aims. The more extremist side. But the same goes for the other side. Many of those fighting against Trans people are just people with concerns about safety, fairness and loss of rights. There is misinformation and there is fear. But there is a few that are more hateful. Rather like the Mutant Liberation Front they don’t think Trans people should exist or if they do they should be segregated from the rest of society. And rather like scenes we’ve seen in those comics, movies and cartoons there are those who would use violence against individuals. Who are quite proud to announce on social media about what they would do if they came across a Trans person. It’s a scary world out there. To think there are people out there who I’ve never met, never spoken to who hate me for who I am and would beat the shit out of me if they came across me.
I’ve seen posts that advocates for Trans people to have to wear a symbol to mark them out in society. Even for there to be a registration. An idea I pointed out at the time was similar to the X-men.

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It’s here that we can return to the point about identity. Why do Trans people need to wear something to mark them out? Why is it important for people to be able to recognise them in the street? There is only one answer and it’s because they are seen as wrong. They are seen as dangerous. “Oh right, yeah you can exist as a woman but we need to know you were born male.” Is it so you can stop your children conversing with someone Trans? Is it so you know not to walk on the same side of the street? Does it matter that such a move would identity Trans people out to the more extreme elements of society, resulting in bulling, beatings and possibly death. Where is the concern for safety now?
The only thing such actions such as separate toilets and wearing symbols does is it makes it easier for people to identify. There has already been cases where women have been accosted in restrooms by people who believe they are trans. A woman accused of sexual assault in America resulted in some on Twitter pointing her out as Trans. When I argued what evidence they had for this the reply was “My eyes, she looks like a man.” Even Kira Knightly has come under scrutiny with some believing she is secretly Trans because of the way she is built. Fear and hatred allow such things to happen.
These themes in the X-men comics have been going for fifty years, I’m hoping it doesn’t take fifty years before Trans people are allowed to live in relative peace. Hopefully we can find a common ground. A way to provide safety where needed for both sides while allowing Trans people to live the way they want. It’ll never be perfect. Last year (2018) a man refused to sit next to a black woman on a plane. Gay couples are still refused rooms in some hotels or cakes made for their wedding. There are still calls for conversion therapy.

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I spoke in the previous blog about how I hope X-men movies still get made and with the wealth of stories out there why there is no reason they couldn’t. One of my ‘favourite’ stories is God Loves, Man Kills’. It’s hard hitting. From the very start two mutant children are killed and strung up just for being different. There is hatred spread throughout. It’s emotional, it’s hard and it deserves a movie version. It ends both on a note of hopefulness, An act of kindness from one human, and a bittersweet note as the fight to exist is only temporary halted before it begins again. The battle won but not the war. A brief respite before the arguments begin again on whether they should be allowed the same basic rights as other human beings.

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For those that are not X-men fans and are more DC then I would recommend the latest season of Supergirl. (Season four) It currently has the same themes although between humans and aliens. There is an obvious parallel with themes of immigration but also those themes of being discriminated against for being different. Given that it now features a Trans woman as a superhero it certainly highlights these themes and out of the four CW series at the moment it’s the one that I’m most into at the moment.

The X-men, Supergirl or any number of super hero stories out there can highlight injustice in the world. Call out hate and bigotry and gives us role models to look up to. But it also has to be said someone doesn’t need to have super powers to make a stand. To give respect to others and fight for peoples right to live in this world.

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Should the X-Men films be rebooted

 

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Recently I was sorting through my superhero DVDs, sorting the MCU films into a chronological order to watch rather than release date. Trying to do the same with my X-men films proved a little bit more problematic.
You have the original trilogy. X-Men, X-Men United and Last Stand. Then Wolverine Origin came out. No problem put that to the front. Then First Class. So far so good. The Days of Future Present? After First Class? After Last Stand? Ok I went for after Last Stand. After all it follows on from The Wolverine which follows on from the events of Last Stand and we see Logan’s actions change future events of Last Stand as well as a few other points. So already we have a soft reboot.
But then came Apocalypse. Were the hell does that go. Obviously before the events of X-men but after Days of Future past which is after Last Stand which no longer really exists. Suddenly I’m starting to get a headache and we’ve not yet gotten to the upcoming Dark Phoenix which seems to be a revamped version of Last Stand.

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Maybe it doesn’t really matter and with Days of Future Past how much of X-Men and X-men reunited were changed. Perhaps those films are now an alternative timeline.
But I have other problems with the franchise. First Class is set in 62. Days in 73, Apocalypse 83 and Dark Phoenix 93. While it’s a sort of cool gimmick jump a ten year gap with each movie with the next instalment set just seven years (or ten) before the first X-men movie and with 30 years pasting since first Class one has to wonder about the characters being portrayed here. Xavier and others don’t seem to age that much especially given that he is supposed to be looking somewhere like Patrick Stewart by now. In fact Wolverine Origins has a Cameo by Stewart’s Xavier and that’s is set in 79. No wonder Deadpool has to question which Xavier Colossus is taking him to see.

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So where I can believe events changed it is more challenging to me to believe the characters I’m now watching are going to become the ones we see in the original movies. Maybe if First Class had been a proper reboot it wouldn’t matter but Days of Future Past sees both versions of characters existing. Of course there could be some artistic licence here. After all in the comics different artists have put their own vision on the characters over the years and yet they have always remained looking similar over the decades.
So now that Disney now owns the rights and that they may want to use characters in the MCU maybe it’s’ time for an X-men reboot somewhere down the line. And it will definitely have to be a reboot. We have already had a Quicksilver in the MCU so as much as I love Evans Peters version it’s hard to see how he can be used. Likewise as much as it would be good to see Wolverine appear, Hugh Jackman has hung up his claws so a recast is required here. However Jackman has become somewhat iconic with the role it’s difficult to vision another actor take the part so soon. But then we’ve had three different Spider-men in the same time period.

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As a recent you tube video recently pointed out introducing the X-men into the MCU has it’s problems. We have to wonder where mutants have been all this time so it might only be possible to bring in the X-Men with a new modern timeline. Alternative some sort of universe crossover? Two separate Earths colliding allowing for the characters to appear together? It doesn’t sound like it would be a bad idea and I’m already suspecting this might be what is in store for the separate Earths of the DC CW shows next year.
But I do want to see something happen because I remember when X-men first came out around the same time as the Spiderman movies and thinking how cool would a crossover be. Of course given that X-men movies are still coming out it may be that some time is needed between retellings. But then they had no problem with Spiderman. The Flash has appeared in a DC movie despite the TV series and I think audiences today can take different versions of characters at the same time. After all there is over fifty years of comics to take from so there is really no need to repeat recent storylines. Of course they may just take a couple of characters from the X-men to use, maybe just too finally get some interesting villains. But I hope that in some way we do still get X-men movies because the X-Men represents something personal for me that doesn’t come with other heroes. But that’s another blog post coming soon.

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How we (& others) perceive ourselves.

 

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When you look into a mirror what do you see? The person you want to be? Potential? Do you look and think “Hey I’m looking pretty good today” or “Why won’t my hair go right, Is that bags under my eyes, I hate the way I look”?
I suspect it’s maybe the same for most people as it is for me. Sometimes I think I look ok sometimes I hate my looks. I mean when I’m getting ready to go out anywhere I want to try and look my best. Same with what I wear. I don’t just grab the nearest thing to throw on. Does this t-shirt make me look fat? Does this shirt go with these jeans? What earings to wear? It’s all carefully considered to how I want to present myself to the outside world. What message I want to send out to people.

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But it can sometime be a balancing act between what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you look good. Several years ago I sported a goatee and was told by a couple of people it suited me. And at the time I liked it. Now though I find it hard to go outside without being clean shaven. It can make me feel as if I’m not myself. I hate the roughness of my skin. The same with my red hair. Some liked it, some didn’t. And at the moment my hair is rather long. Despite how I love the feel of my hair down the back of my neck I know it looks unruly, untidy and needs a cut. But not too short. A while ago when I was still in a relationship my girlfriend convinced me to let her cut my hair. I do so but regretted it because she cut it shorter then what I had wanted. Why later on when it had grown back I let her cut it again, despite repeating once more not to go to short, I’ll never know.
But the point is this. I felt disappointed because I didn’t want my hair that short. It didn’t feel like me. Now from my girlfriend’s point of view she was cutting it to as style she thought looked good on me. And maybe it did. I can’t deny either that in the past I haven’t sought advice on my looks and style. I had a friend go through my wardrobe once throwing out anything she recommended getting rid of.
Plus I’m the type of person that if I find a style I like, I’ll stick to it or variations of it for a while until my taste change again.
So going back to this balancing act because this is where I’m at right now. I’m beginning to think more about my appearance because there is someone I’m interested in. And my first thought is how can I make myself appear more attractive, plastic surgery not really being an option? And so I begin to look at how to compromise how I like to look with how should I look. Will growing a goatee make me look manlier and attractive? A very short hair cut? Where is the line between what I find comfortable and what makes me look good?

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Now the simple answer to this is, where what you like, look how you want. Be yourself and the right people will like you for being you. And I stick by that advice. But can we trust our own judgement? When I look in the mirror and think “Hey my hair looks great today” that is my own perception. What people outside might see is wild hair all over the place. How many celebrity style disasters have been seen reported in magazines.
So rightly or wrongly we do place a great deal of importance on how others perceive us. I have a Doctor Who scarf, the long Tom Baker one. It is very rare I wear it out because I worried if it looks stupid. But at Christmas time whilst doing some photos I put together an outfit with the scarf that I loved. I thought it looked good, comfortable but not one I would wear out in public.
The reason. Because I liked it along with the wig and makeup. Without it, it doesn’t look right on me. And that’s another thing. Makeup. I’d love to be able to wear it out. And not just as female. There is a guy I fancy like mad and when he wears make up he looks just so damn cute. I wish I could do the same but a lack of confidence both in my skills and my looks stop me from doing so. When I wrote A Girl’s Night Out I found it easy because many of the events that happen comes from my own wishes of what I would love to do.

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There is this fight within myself to go out how I want to and to try and find a way to not look awful. And trust me some of the people I hang around with will let me know when I’m wearing something stupid. I mean I push the boundary. My rainbow laces in my trainers and boots that I got for Pride month a year ago are still on them. I like the look. And I’m happy to wear nail varnish out most of the time, as long as I’ve done a decent enough job on them. So there is already a part of me that doesn’t care what people think.
So why all of a sudden do I feel the need to look my best? Why am I worried about how people see me? Well maybe it’s because I’m falling in love. Yes for the last few weeks I’ve been feeling joy and happiness I’ve not felt for a long time and it’s down to my feelings for this guy. Now before I get too carried away I know there isn’t really much chance of getting with him. That’s not just me being hard on myself but because I’m aware it’s very unlikely to come to fruition and for various reasons. But when I see him I do want to make sure I look good especially if I’m having a photo with them. This brings me to my final point.
We try and present ourselves to the world in the way we want to be seen. Even if you are someone who doesn’t care about style or looking fabulous it’s still a statement saying I don’t care what people think, this is me. But when there is someone you want to look good in front of, that’s when you start to make a little bit more effort. In my past there was a girl I really fell for. It’s been a few years but I have never fully gotten over her. The thing was though because of her I always made an effort to look as good as I could. It was a great motivator to look after myself (although dropping a dress size is currently working for me, I hope).
But I was trying to present myself as someone she might find attractive. I took on her advice on what to wear, how to have my hair. To grow a beard because I wanted to look good for her. And because of my feelings for her, because I was worried about what she thought of me I missed out of some opportunities. Had I confided in her of how I wanted to look maybe I could have been myself instead. She was great at makeup and I always resisted the temptation to ask her for lessons and tips.
So what is the answer for me now? When I next see this guy I want to look good, but I also know I need to be myself. I have to find a balance of looking good and being comfortable. I’m not sure yet how that is going to work out. I’m working on bits of myself I don’t like to try and improve, not just for others but also for myself. It’s a work in progress. Finally today I’ve had new crowns fitted. I can smile again without feeling uncomfortable.

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